Is Google Using Racial Profiling for Ad Sales?

Over at Huffington Post, commentator Nathan Newman of, asks if Google is using digital racial profiling to push shady ads. Of course, if true, there are ethical questions; I wonder if there are legal ones too.

As moderator of the advertising law panel at our Media Law in the Digital Age conference on October 22 at Kennesaw State this is will be a good question for panelists Vera Haller of CUNY and Mark VanderBroek of Troutman Sanders.

Here is more of what Newman says at the Huffington Post:

With Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt testifying before the Senate on Wednesday, I’m hoping the senators will raise questions on what kinds of contextual and behavioral targeting Google allows in its advertising and what steps it has taken to stop racial and economic profiling that harms such groups. Given the billions of dollars Google made from subprime mortgage lenders advertising on its site and revenue raised from similarly shady advertisers such as the recent pharma ad scandal revealed, there are legitimate questions raised about Google making its advertising services available to unethical advertisers.

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